Ten years of solutions

by Jeff Gelski
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Taste, health, cost and convenience ranked as four high priorities in grain-based foods development in 2003, the year the Food Ingredient Solutions section began to appear in this publication. Nearly 10 years later, the grain-based foods industry continues to focus on those areas, and that strategy stands a good bet to continue over the next 10 years.

Yet much has changed. Formulators drastically reduced the amount of trans fat in baked foods. The baking industry survived the low-carbohydrate trend and then found ways to successfully expand the markets for foods with whole grains or fiber. More probiotic strains and omega-3 fatty acids are found in baked foods, too.

The following is a look back at what ingredients and issues were facing the grain-based foods industry in 2003 and how far the industry has come heading into 2013.

Surging soy protein

Soy’s use as an ingredient in grain-based foods was still emerging in 2003 due in large part to the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of a health claim on the reduced risk of heart disease. Found in the Oct. 26, 1999, issue of the Federal Register, the claim said foods containing at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving potentially are eligible for the claim.

Soy protein drew attention in the article “Matching grain-based foods and specialty proteins” in the Feb. 18, 2003, issue.

E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del., and Bunge, Ltd., White Plains, N.J., had just formed a joint venture in St. Louis-based Solae L.L.C. DuPont was the majority shareholder of the specialty protein business. The Solae mark already was found on 8th Continent soy milk.

Other ingredient suppliers were pushing their soy portfolio, too. Cargill, Minneapolis, offered a Prolisse soy protein isolate, and Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., promoted its NutraSoy line of defatted soy flours and grits.

As industry nears 2013, soy protein remains a popular ingredient, and it has new competition from other forms of plant-based protein.

MarketsandMarkets, a research and consulting company based in Dallas, estimated the global soy protein ingredients market to be worth $5,139.9 million in 2011 and expects the market to reach $9,099.7 million by 2017. Solae is still around. DuPont became its sole owner in 2012.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recognized beans and peas for being excellent sources of protein and for providing iron, zinc and dietary fiber. ADM now offers VegeFull bean products as ingredients. Roquette offers Nutralys pea proteins.

Shelf life strategies

Interstate Bakeries Corp., Kansas City, was an industry leader in 2003 with its extended shelf life technology that decreased distribution costs for bakeries. Sara Lee Bakery Group and Flowers Bakeries also had extended shelf life strategies, according to the article “E.S.L. revolution/evolution” in the March 18, 2003, issue.

For extended shelf life of two weeks or more in retail bread products, bakers needed to solve the issues of texture, flavor and antimicrobial activity. ADM offered blends of mono- and di-glycerides to extend shelf life. Ingredient suppliers also offered propionates, enzymes, hydrocolloids and emulsifiers.

Bakers today still want to increase shelf life, but many also want to do so while keeping a clean or simple ingredient list. Ingredient suppliers have responded with such products as CLDC, or clean label dough conditioners, from Cain Food Industries and Natamax antimicrobials, which have natamycin as their active compound, from DuPont Nutrition & Health.

Hispanic flavors flourish

Indulgent and Hispanic flavors were featured in the article “Flavor fever” in the April 15, 2003, issue.

Peter J. Mazeiko, vice-president of flavor and technical laboratories at Ottens Flavors, Philadelphia, mentioned indulgent flavors such as tiramisu, black forest, baked Alaska, snickerdoodle and bananas foster. Popular Hispanic flavors were tres leches, crème brulees, caramel, mango, papayas and other citrus fruits.

Adding Hispanic flavors to grain-based foods still makes sense from a demographic standpoint. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50.5 million Hispanics lived in the United States in 2010, which was up from 35.3 million in 2000. The U.S. Census Bureau on Dec. 12, 2012, said the U.S. Hispanic population may double to 128.8 million in 2060 from 53.3 million in 2012.

Value-added nutrition

Improving the nutritional aspects of grain-based foods was the focus of the article “Value in, value out” that appeared in the June 17, 2003, issue.

Many food products are void of trans fat nowadays, but in 2003 trans fat-free was seen as a value-added trait in grain-based foods. Frito-Lay had just reformulated many of its snacks to qualify as having 0 grams of trans fat.

ADM Specialty Oils and Fats, Decatur, Ill., had a portfolio of trans fat-free alternatives, including enzyme-interesterified shortenings and margarines, tropical oils, modified oils and blends. Cargill’s high-oleic canola and sunflower oils were trans fat-free. Loders Croklaan, Wormerver, Holland, offered trans fat-free shortenings and oils prepared without hydrogenation.

Other value-added foods included those with omega-3 fatty acids and choline.

Par-baked savings

The emergence of frozen, par-baked products as a way to save on labor costs was the focus of the article “Why par-baked? Why now?” that appeared in the July 15, 2003, article. The par-baked system also allowed bakers to offer a range of baked foods, including those with rosemary, garlic and olives.

Targeting trans fat

The drive to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids from grain-based foods began in earnest in 2003. The Food and Drug Administration that year announced companies beginning Jan. 1, 2006, would have to list trans fat content on the Nutrition Facts Panel of products.

Emerging options for bakers wanting to reduce trans fat were covered in the article “Targeting trans fat” that appeared in the Aug. 19, 2003, issue.

Willie H. Loh, then national sales manager for Cargill Specialty Canola Oils, spoke about the evolution of cooking oils. He said tallow and lard once dominated the market, but industry switched to tropical oils because consumers became concerned about cholesterol. When consumers worried about saturated fat, the industry shifted to vegetable shortenings.

Then it was found using partial hydrogenation in the creation of vegetable oils also created trans fatty acids, which lower H.D.L. or “good” cholesterol and raise L.D.L. or “bad” cholesterol.

Oil suppliers started rushing to the rescue in 2003 with options designed to reduce or eliminate trans fats in products.

Cargill offered high-oleic canola oils under the Clear Valley and Odyssey brands.

Bunge Foods, St. Louis, offered a low-trans, all-purpose shortening called Vream Right and a low-trans cake and icing shortening called Vreamay Right. Both products contained a maximum of 5% trans fat and were composed of partially hydrogenated soybean oil and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

The National Sunflower Association promoted a mid-oleic sunflower oil in NuSun. Frito-Lay had announced it would use NuSun oil to produce its SunChips.

ADM introduced its NovaLipid line of zero- and low-trans fat products. It consisted of naturally stable oils, blended oils, tropical oils and enzyme-interesterified margarines and shortenings.

Other ingredients on the scene were the SansTran brand of palm oil-based products from Loders Croklaan and Benefat salatrim no-trans shortening from Danisco.

Since 2003, industry has made headway in eliminating trans fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, in February of this year reported they found an overall 58% decrease in the levels of trans fatty acids in the blood of white adults in a study of the 2000 NHANES and the 2009 NHANES.

New oil challenges focus on reducing saturated fat while keeping a product’s functionality and taste. The commercial use of one high-oleic soybean oil, Plenish, may increase dramatically in 2013 while another one, Vistive Gold, may be close behind.

Re-igniting corn’s use

The article “Trying to re-ignite growth” found in the Sept. 16, 2003, issue focused on how industry was trying to halt the declining use of corn ingredients in ready-to-eat cereals and snack foods.

Corn was in the news in 2012 as the drought led to an increase in its price. Some in the food industry sought to alleviate the rising prices by urging for a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standards. The Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 16, 2012, said it had not found evidence to support a finding of severe “economic harm” that would warrant granting a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standards.

Hi-maize resistant starch continued to see use in grain-based foods in 2012 as Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., promoted it for increasing dietary fiber, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy weight. Hi-maize resistant starch is isolated from a special hybrid of corn that is naturally high in amylose content.

Functional options

The article “A function of opportunity” in the Oct. 21, 2003, issue contained information on such functional ingredients as omega-3 fatty acids, choline and probiotics. All three types of ingredients continue to gain acceptance in the grain-based foods industry today.

Royal DSM n.v. recently acquired omega-3 fatty acid suppliers Ocean Nutrition Canada and Martek Biosciences Corp. Balchem promotes its Memor-C choline salts. Ganeden Biotech, Lallemand, DuPont Nutrition & Health and Chr. Hansen offer creative ways to include probiotics in grain-based foods.

Organic is big business

Larger companies in 2003 had begun to pursue the organic market, according to the article “The organic reward” in the Nov. 18, 2003, issue. General Mills, Inc. had purchased Small Planet Foods, and Kraft Foods North America had purchased Back to Nature brand cereal.

By 2011, the U.S. organic food and beverage sector was at $29.2 billion in sales, which was up from $10.4 billion in 2003, according to the Organic Trade Association, Greenfield, Mass. Bread and grains made up 11% of all U.S. organic food and beverage sales in 2011.

The convenience of bars

Increasing sales of bars and their ingredients drew attention in the article “The convenience mantra” in the Dec. 16, 2003, issue. Whey and soy were found in protein bars while more indulgent bars had chocolate coatings and fruit fillings. A January 2003 report from ACNielsen revealed breakfast bars had sales of $403.5 million in the 52 weeks ended Nov. 2, 2002, a 26% increase from the previous year.

In 2012, Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group estimated the snack bar category had sales of $6 billion after growing at twice the rate of other snack foods during the past decade. The snack bar category included breakfast, energy and nutrition, fruit, granola and others.

Inulin, a source of fiber, now appears in Fiber One bars and FiberPlus bars. Taste, health and convenience all ranked as benefits of the bars.

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